Interview with Gill Rogers
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Gill Rogers says that making jewellery started as a new and exciting journey and has now become a real passion
How did your interest in jewellery start?
I fell into jewellery making quite by accident during my final year at university as I had spent the first two years experimenting with glass techniques to produce designs for interior lighting. Part of my course during the final year included a marketing assignment, which enabled students to produce a number of designed objects to research and promote for galleries. Students were required to have a minimum of four objects for this assignment, so I knew that it would have been very difficult to achieve this in lighting due to the time and scale. My tutor then suggested that I could perhaps look into designing smaller scale objects in glass, such as jewellery.
Where did you train?
I studied at Lincoln University from 2004-7 and was awarded a B.A. (Hons) in Contemporary Decorative Crafts, specialising in glass. My background training began in 1997 with foundation studies in art & design and textiles. Following this, I went on to study glassmaking, beginning with a course in stained glass and copperfoil techniques. I then enrolled onto a City & Guilds course in 2001 to study kiln-formed glass techniques prior to university. During my time at university, I attended courses in Stourbridge and the International Glass Centre, Sunderland, to further my studies and research into flamework techniques.
Where is your studio?
My studio is located at Paintworks in Bristol, which has now become the creative quarter of the city. I moved to Bristol in August 2009, after spending a couple of years working overseas and I was keen to find suitable and affordable premises to work from. I have been based at Paintworks for over three years now and I have made many good friends. Paintworks is a wonderful, vibrant place to work and it is a real pleasure to be among so many talented artists.
What is the main inspiration for your design?
My main source of inspiration comes from observational studies of natural forms, many of which represent stylized interpretations of pattern and texture. I have always been fascinated by the beauty of natural formations, such as icicles, plant forms, fossils, shells, corals, and so on. I also get a lot of my inspiration from experimenting with patterns to construct three-dimensional shapes.
What is your preferred medium?
My jewellery is predominantly made of glass. I use mainly borosilicate glass as it is a hard glass with a higher resistance to shock and breakage than soft glass. Borosilicate contains the same properties as Pyrex, commonly used for producing scientific laboratory ware, such as test tubes and is also used for producing various items of kitchen bakeware.
Do you have a favourite tool?
My work with glass is produced by flamework techniques, which involves melting glass over an open flame. I use a torch for this process, which is powered by Propane and oxygen to melt the glass. My favourite tools have to be pliers and tweezers; it would be impossible to work without these because of the need to manipulate the glass at extreme temperatures. I also use a variety of sculpting tools to shape glass and create patterns and textures.
What are your goals?
I have always had a great passion and desire for design and making. My main focus and goal is to continue to strive to push the boundaries to create innovative designs in jewellery. One of my short-term aims is to devote more time to areas such as marketing in an attempt to get my work across to a wider audience.
Do you offer workshops and jewellery classes?
Not currently, due to present commitments, but it is definitely an area I would like to explore sometime in the near future.
Where do you exhibit/sell your work?
I usually exhibit at a few selected shows each year. My most recent show was Desire in Winchester, which is held in November each year. I also exhibited at the British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate, in September. Prior to this, I have exhibited at Art London on a couple of occasions and Art in Action, Oxford. I also sell my work through a number of UK and overseas galleries, including Peter Layton's London Glassblowing gallery and the Glass Artists' Gallery in Sydney.
What has been your greatest achievement?
I have been very fortunate and lucky to experience several memorable events during my career. Highlights would have to include a nomination for a medal of excellence and having both my lighting design and jewellery selected for the New Designers show, London 2007, on graduation. I also had the great privilege to meet actress Emma Thomson in 2010 when she visited my stand at Art London and purchased a pair of my earrings.
Details of forthcoming shows for 2013
Desire Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair, The Guildhall, Winchester